Light - The Physics of the Photon  book cover
1st Edition

Light - The Physics of the Photon

ISBN 9781439840436
Published June 17, 2014 by CRC Press
484 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

From the early wave-particle arguments to the mathematical theory of electromagnetism to Einstein’s work on the quantization of light, different descriptions of what constitutes light have existed for over 300 years. Light – The Physics of the Photon examines the photon phenomenon from several perspectives. It demonstrates the importance of studying the photon as a concept belonging to a global vacuum (matter-free space).

Divided into eight parts, the book begins with exploring aspects of classical optics in a global vacuum on the basis of free-space Maxwell equations. It then describes light rays and geodesics and presents a brief account of the Maxwell theory in general relativity. After discussing the theory of photon wave mechanics, the author gives a field-quantized description of the electromagnetic field, emphasizing single-photon quantum optics in Minkowskian space. He next focuses on photon physics in the rim zone of matter, paying particular attention to photon emission processes. He also takes a closer look at the photon source domain and field propagators, which conveniently describe the photon field propagation in the vicinity of and far from the electronic source domain. The last two parts discuss the photon vacuum and light quanta in Minkowskian space as well as two-photon entanglement, which is associated with the biphoton in space-time.

Table of Contents

Classical Optics in Global Vacuum
Heading for photon physics
Fundamentals of free electromagnetic fields
Optics in the Special Theory of Relativity

Light Rays and Geodesics. Maxwell Theory in General Relativity
The light-particle and wave pictures in classical physics
Eikonal theory and Fermat’s principle
Geodesics in General Relativity
The space-time of General Relativity
Electromagnetic theory in curved space-time

Photon Wave Mechanics
The elusive light particle
Wave mechanics based on transverse vector potential
Longitudinal and scalar photons. Gauge and near-field light quanta
Massive photon field
Photon energy wave function formalism

Single-Photon Quantum Optics in Minkowskian Space
The photon of the quantized electromagnetic field
Polychromatic photons
Single-photon wave packet correlations
Interference phenomena with single-photon states
Free-field operators: Time evolution and commutation relations

Photon Embryo States
Attached photons in rim zones
Evanescent photon fields
Photon tunneling
Near-field photon emission in 3D

Photon Source Domain and Propagators
Super-confined T-photon sources
Transverse current density in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics
Spin-1/2 current density in relativistic quantum mechanics
Massless photon propagators

Photon Vacuum and Quanta in Minkowskian Space
Photons and observers
The inertial class of observers: Photon vacuum and quanta
The non-inertial class of observers: The nebulous particle concept
Photon mass and hidden gauge invariance

Two-Photon Entanglement in Space-Time
The quantal photon gas
Quantum measurements
Two-photon wave mechanics and correlation matrices
Spontaneous one- and two-photon emissions



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Ole Keller is a professor of physics and nanotechnology at Aalborg University in Denmark.


"Everything you wanted to know about the modern photon by way of mathematical formalisms is available in [this book] … a delightful book for theoretically inclined advanced students and scientists specializing in optical science."
American Journal of Physics, March 2015

"The material is presented in a clear structure and with full mathematical rigour."
Contemporary Physics, 2014

"This important book will help readers accomplish the arduous task of understanding the photon, and provides deeper knowledge of the nature of light."
—Barry R. Masters, Optics & Photonics News, 2014